Site effect on vulnerability of high-rise shear wall buildings under near and far field earthquakes

Z. P. Wen, Y. X. Hu, Kam Tim Chau

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Worldwide experience repeatedly shows that damages in structures caused by earthquakes are highly dependent on site condition and epicentral distance. In this paper, a 21-storey shear wall-structure built in the 1960s in Hong Kong is selected as an example to investigate these two effects. Under various design earthquake intensities and for various site conditions, the fragility curves or damage probability matrix of such building is quantified in terms of the ductility factor, which is estimated from the ratio of storey yield shear to the inter-storey seismic shear. For high-rise buildings, a higher probability of damage is obtained for a softer site condition, and damage is more severe for far field earthquakes than for near field earthquakes. For earthquake intensity of VIII, the probability of complete collapse (P) increases from 1 to 24% for near field earthquakes and from 1 to 41% for far field earthquakes if the building is moved form a rock site to a site consisting a 80 m thick soft clay. For intensity IX, P increases from 6 to 69% for near field earthquake and from 14 to 79% for far field earthquake if the building is again moved form rock site to soft soil site. Therefore, site effect is very important and not to be neglected. Similar site and epicentral effects should also be expected for other types of high-rise structures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1175-1182
Number of pages8
JournalSoil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering
Issue number9-12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002


  • Damage probability matrix
  • Distant earthquake
  • Epicentral distance
  • Near earthquake
  • Seismic vulnerability
  • Site conditions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Soil Science


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